Look What You Made Me Do

Album: Reputation (2017)
Charted: 1 1

Songfacts®:

  • Taylor Swift takes a heel turn on "Look What You Made Me Do," the lead single from Reputation. In the dark, dance-pop song, Swift sings about taking karma and revenge on several unnamed adversaries. Possible names that she could be addressing include Kanye West, Kim Kardashian West, and Katy Perry.
  • The clapback song was co-written and co-produced by Bleachers' Jack Antonoff, who previously worked with Swift on three tracks from her 1989 album ("Out Of The Woods" "I Wish You Would" and "You R In Love."
  • The song's hook follows the rhythmic pattern of Right Said Fred's early 1990s hit "I'm Too Sexy." So much so that Swift saw the need to credit the songwriters of that track, Fred Fairbrass, Richard Fairbrass and Rob Manzoli.

    Right Said Fred frontman Richard Fairbrass explained to NME how Swift interpolated their tune:

    "The title of 'Look What You Made Me Do' is based upon the verse of '…Sexy.' That's basically it. What's weird about 'Sexy' is that when people sing it, they sing the verse, not the chorus – nobody sings that. Everybody sings: 'I'm too sexy' – it's the verse that people have latched onto, not the chorus."

    In Taylor's song they adapt that rhythm and attitude of the 'Sexy' verse as a chorus – so they've just interpolated it differently, that's all it is. I'd be an idiot to complain about it. We've been really lucky to have been picked by somebody like Taylor, who is obviously very cool and very successful and open-minded and relaxed about it. She's not like some people."
  • Swift kicks off the track by talking about someone who made her look like a "fool." Fans believe she may be addressing Kanye West. The two singers have had an off-again, on-again feud since 2009, when West stormed the MTV VMA stage to interrupt her acceptance speech for best female video. He claimed Beyoncé should have won the prize for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)."

    I don't like your little games
    Don't like your tilted stage.


    This could be a reference to West's levitating, "tilted" platform from his Saint Pablo Tour.
  • During the middle eight, Swift talks about leaving behind the old version of herself with a voicemail answering machine effect.

    I'm sorry the old Taylor can't come to the phone right now
    Why? Because she's dead.


    Fans suspect the lyric is a reference to the call that took place between Swift and West about his song "Famous." During the phone conversation, which was leaked by Kim Kardashian, Swift seems to be verbally approving some (but not all) of the lyrics.
  • On August 18, a week before this song was released, Swift erased her Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and personal YouTube accounts. On August 21, she posted a distorted video of a snake, followed by similar videos over the next few days, all to build anticipation for this track.
  • Taylor Swift has had an ongoing feud with Katy Perry since three dancers on Taylor's tour left before it was completed to join Katy's. Swift seems to be giving Perry a few subtle jabs during this song. One line appears to allude to Perry's "Bon Appetit" single.

    Locked me out and threw a feast (what?)

    "Bon Appetit" uses sexualized food metaphors and features a music video where Perry is cooked by a group of men.
  • It was early August 2017 when Swift's people contacted Right Said Fred to ask their permission to interpolate her song. Richard Fairbrass recalled to NME just after the song was released:

    "My brother [Fred] signed me up. He lives in Barcelona and he just phoned me up and said we've had a phone call from LA, and Taylor Swift wants to use part of 'I'm Too Sexy'.

    It was firmed up about a week or two ago, but we were told to be bloody quiet about it because they wanted to make sure there was no leakage in the meantime. She and all the people that work with her have been incredibly friendly. I've got a huge bunch of flowers here from them in the house. It's been a rewarding experience, and very flattering. I don't have a single bad thing to say."
  • Swift debuted the video on the MTV Video Music Awards, August 27, 2017. Directed by Joseph Kahn, the clip opens in a cemetery, where an undertaker version of Swift buries her "reputation." We then see her in character for this song, where she crashes a sports car, swings from a giant birdcage, and does some hip-hop choreography - very un-Swiftlike behavior. At that end, various versions of her previous self appear, including the teenaged country version. "You're so fake," the evil Taylor scolds.
  • Jack Antonoff recalled penning the song with Swift. "She came over to my house and we hung out and wrote the song," the producer told Billboard magazine. "Taylor, Lorde, Bleachers records - anything I do - I believe very deeply about not being in an environment that is foreign to people," he explained. "I want to make records in spaces that feel like a home or a bedroom -- anywhere that people can hang out."

    When Swift stopped by Antonoff's studio to complete the tune, the producer said they were simply experimenting. "We were messing around and cooked up all these different ideas together," he recalled. "I love working with people and am very blessed to work with people who are always moving forward. Everyone I work with I feel like is always out to outdo themselves and change everything."
  • The song and its accompanying video set records left, right and center following its release. They include:

    1) After being dropped at 11.30pm ET on August 24, 2017 "Look" was played a total of 10,129,087 times on Spotify in its first 24 hours, more than any other song has achieved in a single day. This surpassed the 6.87m streams attracted by Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You" during its first 24 hours on the platform in January 2017.

    The record was broken on June 19, 2018 when the rapper XXXTentacion's "Sad!" reached 10.4 million in 24 hours, the day after he was shot dead.

    2) The lyric video was watched more than 19 million views in its first 24 hours. This smashed the record for the most views for a lyric video, previously held by The Chainsmokers' "Something Just Like This," which garnered 9 million views during the first day of its debut.

    3) The music video was viewed 43.2 million times in its first 24 hours on Vevo following its debut during the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. In doing so it overtook the previous record holder, Adele's "Hello," which racked up 27 million views in its first day on the platform. The clip similarly usurped Psy's 24-hour YouTube record set by the Korean star's "Gentleman," which had 36 million views in a single day back in 2013.

    K-Pop group BTS captured the record from Taylor Swift when their video for "Idol" achieved more than 45 million plays in its first 24 hours.
  • Taylor Swift's bathtub in the music video is filled with $10 million worth of Neil Lane diamonds. The iconic jeweler personally loaned the pop star gemstones for the shoot.

    "I had to go to the vault for this one," Lane told Hollywood Life. "They (producers) wanted an over-the-top, glamorous look so we gave them unprecedented access to my collection. And WOW what an amazing turnout, diamonds have never looked better!"
  • This was Taylor Swift's first UK chart-topper. She'd previously clocked up seven Top 5 singles, three of which had peaked at #2 ("Love Story," "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "Shake It Off").
  • The song started out as a poem that Taylor wrote in which she expressed her feelings about certain people. She explained during iHeartRadio Reputation Release Party:

    "It's basically about realizing that you couldn't trust certain people, but realizing you appreciate the people you can trust. Realizing that you can't just let everyone in, but the ones you can let in, you need to cherish.
    And it had all the verses in it, just basically as is. When the beat hit, we were like 'Ooh, look what you made me do, look what you made me do,' and we were just like, 'Oh my god, we've gotta edit out the rest of the words, and just do that."
  • The Reputation album cover, which features Swift positioned in front of newspaper clippings bearing her name a reported 899 times, was created by high fashion photography duo Mert and Marcus in London.
  • Antonoff told The Independent that he and Swift decided to add the interpolation of "I'm Too Sexy," to the song when it was being made in his New York apartment.

    "That came from nowhere," he said. "We just had the idea. Nothing about that was planned. Nothing I do is really that planned. If I try to do that it sounds like s--t. The shock was the point. That's what it's designed to do. It's funny because we made it in my apartment. The song is such a moment and it came from two of us sitting there."

    Antonoff added to Q magazine: "A lot of times when I work with Taylor, I'll text her the next morning and be like, 'Did that happen?;' Because we'll work usually at night and it happens in this bolt of inspiration. That's how she is. It all kinds of comes out, and so then I always wake up and think, 'Did we do that, or did I dream it?'"
  • According to Pigeons and Planes there are 6,700 words on Reputation, with the most frequent being "you" (438 times).
  • 1.24 million copies of Reputation were sold in its first week in the US, with 1.21 million coming from traditional album sales (digital and physical). The remaining 0.03 units were from the album's four songs that were made available to stream via on-demand audio services such as Spotify and purchase through digital retailers.

    Combined, the other 199 albums on the Billboard 200 chart that week moved just 723,000 in traditional album sales, nearly half of what Swift managed alone.
  • Taylor Swift is a huge fan of Game of Thrones, and this song was inspired by Arya Stark's kill list.

    I've got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined

    Swift told Rolling Stone: "I like to be influenced by movies and shows and books and stuff. I love to write about a character dynamic. And not all of my life is going to be as kind of complex as these intricate webs of characters on TV shows and movies."
  • Taylor Swift fell out with her former Big Machine label when they sold her masters to music manager Scooter Braun without consulting her. She appears to have got her own back by re-recording "Look What You Made Me Do."

    A dark and haunting cover version featured on the May 25, 2020 episode of the BBC drama series Killing Eve. The new interpretation is attributed to Jack Leopards and The Dolphin Club, a band with no previous recording history. Fans speculated about the "Shake It Off" singer's involvement with the song as Nils Sjoberg, her songwriting pseudonym, has a producer credit. (Swift previously used the moniker when she co-wrote Calvin Harris "This Is What You Came For"). The original version's co-producer Jack Antonoff is credited as a producer as well.

    Swift's brother Austin once named his Twitter account The Dolphin Club, so he is likely the vocalist.

    Swift could have re-recorded the tune to get back at Braun and Big Machine Records and to avoid their claiming any royalties from the song's use on Killing Eve.

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